Poll: Who are your top 5 Higher Ed Heroes for 2017?
- 2017 has seen several people stand up for freedom of speech, independent thinking, and other principles in higher education.
- Here are the fifteen nominees for the inaugural edition of Campus Reform's Higher Ed Heroes!
As 2017 comes to a close, Campus Reform would like to highlight some of the most remarkable individuals who made a positive impact in higher education.
This year, college campuses across the country were rocked by a new wave of anti-fascist (“Antifa”) protesters, consumed by thousands of offended students opposed to the First Amendment, and crowded by an ever-growing list of administrators hired to spread social justice.
However, there were also those who took higher education by storm and challenged the system. In 2017, Campus Reform is nominating 15 people for its inaugural "Higher Ed Heroes" award that will be presented to five finalists.
Please vote for your favorite Higher Ed Heroes in the section below!
Troy Worden, University of California-Berkeley
Troy Worden is the former president of the University of California-Berkeley College Republicans, in which role he helped bring conservative speakers, both mainstream and controversial, to campus. He has made numerous appearances on Fox News, most recently for his lawsuit against the school for failing to protect his constitutional rights, and continues to face harassment from Antifa-affiliated groups. He also serves as a Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform.
Caleb O'Neil, Orange Coast College
Caleb O’Neil, a student at Orange Coast College, faced relentless backlash for recording his professor calling the election of Donald Trump an “act of terrorism.” As a result, he faced sanctions from the school, including suspension, but teamed up with a group of lawyers, known as FreedomX, to successfully fend off the frivolous punishments. A frustrated faculty subsequently named the professor “Faculty Member of the Year.”
Nebraska State Senators, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
After several University of Nebraska-Lincoln professors were caught on camera harassing a conservative female recruiting for her Turning Point USA club on campus, Republican State Senators Steve Halloran, Steve Erdman, and Tom Brewer demanded that the school discipline the professors and conduct an investigation into its alleged institutional hostility towards conservatives. One of the teaching assistants was subsequently removed from her teaching duties.
Texas Rep. Briscoe Cain (R), Texas Southern University
Republican State Representative Briscoe Cain attempted to speak at a Federalist Society event at Texas Southern University, but the appearance was cancelled after Black Lives Matter protesters shut the speech down. TSU President Austin A. Lane even allowed the disruption to go on, declaring that the Federalist Society event was “unapproved.” Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) ordered the State Senate to investigate issues pertaining to free-speech on college campuses, and Cain threatened to sue the university over the cancellation.
Ben Shapiro, University of California-Berkeley
Ben Shapiro was without a doubt one of 2017’s most vocal Millennial advocates for conservative principles, speaking at campuses across the country to packed crowds of supporters and dissenters alike. He continues to be among the most articulate and prolific voices making the rounds on the campus speaking circuit.
Charles Murray, Middlebury College
Charles Murray is a political scientist, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and co-author of one of the most controversial books in decades: The Bell Curve. Alongside Shapiro, Murray is frequently protested at campuses across the country, most notably at Middlebury College, where protesters even assaulted a professor as she escorted him from the venue.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Georgetown Law School
Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an appearance at Georgetown University on September 26, where he attacked lawlessness on college campuses and gave one of the staunchest defenses of the First Amendment by a federal official this year.
David Meredith, University of South Alabama
David Meredith, a student at the University of South Alabama, was bullied by an administrator who insisted that he remove a Donald Trump sign from his window. However, Meredith refused, eventually forcing the university to concede that he was acting within his rights.
Jordan Peterson, University of Toronto
Jordan Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and a clinical psychologist. Peterson has been a ferocious defender of free speech in higher education and has become a prime target of liberal activists all around the country. Peterson frequently visits college campuses where he lectures on censorship.
Brooke Paz, California State University-Fullerton
Paz is a rising conservative activist at CSU-Fullerton who has been involved in a number of high-profile political standoffs in California. In July, Paz was one of three students who filed a lawsuit seeking to force a recall of Democratic State Senator Josh Newman. Paz is currently president of CSUF Students for Life and a member of the university’s College Republicans chapter.
Bret Weinstein, Evergreen State College
Bret Weinstein is a former professor at Evergreen State College. He respectfully stood up to students as they screamed at him in his own classroom until the campus police chief advised him to leave campus for his own safety. The student protesters later held school administrators hostage and demanded that they fire Weinstein for sending a faculty-wide email in which he criticized a new version of the “Day of Absence,” during which white people were asked to leave campus for a day of diversity programming.
Tucker Carlson, Fox News
Tucker Carlson is host of the popular Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight, where he regularly takes on professors who demonstrate their liberal bias in the classroom. Perhaps most notably, Tucker challenged Essex County College Professor Lisa Durden on his show. During the show, Durden exposed her radical views and was subsequently fired.
Keith Fink, University of California-Los Angeles
A former communications professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, Fink was a popular conservative lecturer on free speech. He was terminated in June by UCLA after an "Excellence Review" that Fink described as a witch hunt designed to rid the department of him.
Gov. Scott Walker (R), University of Wisconsin System
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has been one of the most active politicians when it comes to pushing for higher education reform. In the spring, Walker strongly backed a companion bill proposed alongside his budget plan that would require the University of Wisconsin System to revise its policies on academic freedom. Furthermore, the governor also pushed to eliminate the mandatory “allocable segregated fees” that were imposed on students who chose to attend a state university.
Andrew Minik, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Minik is a young conservative activist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Campus Correspondent. As a student, Minik fought to expose progressive activists who repeatedly vandalized advertisements for a Charlie Kirk event in October. In a tough election, he became the chairman of the school's diversity committee and is an upcoming president of the university's Turning Point USA chapter. Minik's activism has also made him a target of a local Antifa organization that has launched a campaign intended to smear the student.